Five Provincial Scenes by Vittorio De Seta
Location: Redstone Theater
Dir. Vittorio de Seta. 1955, 52 mins. Archival 35mm print courtesy of Cineteca di Bologna. Forswearing narration, these miniature landscapes from Vittorio De Seta immerse viewers in the rituals of pre-modern Italy so deeply as to induce a state of virtual hypnosis. In Isole di Fuoco, a beachside village maintains its tenuous existence at the foot of a volcanic island. In Sufarara, a day in the life of a sulfur mining town unfolds from dawn to dusk. Pasqua in Sicilia observes the pagan-inflected Easter celebrations of rural Sicily, while Contadini del Mare and Parabola d’oro capture the see-sawing rhythms of languid anticipation and feverish exertion attending the labors of tuna fishermen and wheat harvesters alike. Shot and edited by De Seta himself, these depictions of vanished practices and traditions themselves represent a hand-crafted approach to filmmaking seldom recovered in the digital age. Preceded by Ama Girls (Dir. Ben Sharpsteen, 1958, 29 mins, 35mm). An Oscar-winning entry in Walt Disney’s long forgotten People and Places series, Ama Girls depicts the ancient practice and daily existence of Japan’s famed female pearl divers.